Coastal GasLink’s Huckleberry Lodge has identified one COVID-19 case.
In an April 12 update on the Coastal GasLink (CGL) website, there has been one case identified at the Huckleberry Lodge in Section 7 from south of Houston to north of Morice Lake. This brings the total number of cases the pipeline has seen since March 2020 to 86.
These weekly updates related to case numbers and workforce numbers were put in place by CGL in February, in an attempt towards increased transparency.
While the CGL media lead Natasha Westover didn’t provide any specifics regarding the identified case, she said in an email to Black Press Media, “In the event of a confirmed case or positive test, there are strict protocols in place that are followed in close collaboration with Northern Health. The prime contractor will undertake a conwtact assessment, which includes identification of potential close contacts who may have been in close or extended contact.”
The prime contractor for Section 7 is PAPC.
Westover also said that as per the provincial guidelines, individuals who are symptomatic are promptly relocated to an area separate from others, and will be placed under the supervision of Project Medical Personnel.
“In all cases where self-isolation has been recommended, workers will be provided the support they require to stay in the lodge unless a higher level of care is needed,” she said.
Provincial Health Order restricting worker numbers
Towards the end of last year, CGL saw an outbreak of COVID cases at its 7 Mile Lodge in Burns Lake area and Little Rock Lake Lodge near Fraser Lake.
Following the increasing number of outbreaks at the camps for several similar construction projects across the province, Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry imposed these industrial projects with workforce limits on Jan. 12 to curb the spread of COVID-19. This dramatically reduced workforce numbers at CGL’s 670-kilometre pipeline project.
The reduced number as per the provincial order coupled with the spring slowdown, had the total workforce numbers with CGL at 1,972 as of last week.
On Apr. 13, Henry rescinded the previously declared Order and issued a new order on Industrial Projects within the Northern Health Authority Region and Industrial Camps along with additional guidance to several major industrial projects in Northern British Columbia. An update on how the new order would affect the workforce is expected in the coming days.
Vaccination paused for workers
In Early March, the province had announced vaccination plans for frontline workers, including those living and working at camps such as those associated with CGL. The public health officials also announced that Northern Health would be getting 15,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that would mainly go towards the five industrial projects with camps: Coastal GasLink, LNG Canada, B.C. Hydro’s Site C, the Trans Mountain twinning project and Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kemano T2 tunnel project.
However, as of March 29, the COVID-19 vaccination program on all industrial projects in the region was paused. According to an update by CGL, “Dr. Bonnie Henry and the BC Ministry of Health are reassessing the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD immunization program plans across the province with further guidance expected by Wednesday, March 31.”
At the time of going to press on Monday, April 19, the B.C. website had no new updates on the AstraZeneca vaccination and said, “Distribution of the AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) vaccine for front-line priority workers is paused. Program distribution status will be updated as information is available.”